Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March/April 2012 Announcement

Hey, this is the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.
Anyway, last month was fun, eh? Covering one series I adore (Oh my Goddess), then two more obscure titles, one which it is meh (Legend of the Last Labyrinth) and one that I can’t stop yearning for more (My Dear Marie). I think I put in quite an insight into the relationships and romance presented in these titles. I feel that I am getting into my stride as an anime reviewer at last, and I hope to continue this as it is quite some fun and wonderful way to pass the spare time.

So, the next two months will be a mix of various things. Yes, it’s back to doing random reviews. So, here are the dates when reviews get posted.

4th-AR No. 25: Genshiken, Episode 1/First Impressions (2004)
10th-AR No. 26: Kujibiki Unbalance, Part I (2007)
17th-K.U., Part II
24th-K.U., Part III

1st-AR No. 27: April Fools’ Day Special: Tenamonya Voyagers (1999)
7th-AR No. 28: Hanamaru Kindergarten Episode 1/First Impressions (2010)
14th-AR No. 29: Black Rock Shooter (2012)
21st-AR No. 30: S.S. Astro (2005 manga)
Break from April 22nd and May 5th due to well, finals and other things. More details to come….

Reason why Kujibiki Unbalance is being done in 3 weeks? Well, it was something I wanted to review last November but didn’t get around to doing that. So, I am spending much of March doing a review over it. Well, that and the series are on a 3 DVD disc set I own personally. Each part will cover 4 episodes each, with the last and third part also containing overall thoughts on the series as a whole.

So, yeah til next time ^_^

The Eclectic Dude 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anime Review No. 24 "My Dear Marie"

I'm the Eclectic Dude, and I review it for the lolz

Well, Romance and Relationships Month is drawing to a close, my second (and certainly not the last) themed month of reviews. This week's review is now over "My Dear Marie", another relatively less known OVA from the 90s. But is it a lost gem, or should it go into the bin?

"My Dear Marie" is  3 episode OVA dating back from 1996. Originally written by Sakura Takeuchi as a 10 volume manga published between 1994 and 1997.  The OVA director was Tomomi Mochizuki, with productio work done by Studio Pierrot, which brought us such works as Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto, Saiyuki and the likes. So, sounds promising enough. Now, onto the OVA itself.

Episode 1, titled "The Birth of Marie", introduces the main characters and the basic plot. First off, there's Hiroshi, a typical college male nerd (complete with glasses and dorky looks). He has loneliness problems, something that makes him relate to me personally. He has a crush on Mari, a female tennis player with purple hair (cus its anime). She is completely oblivious to his feelings, of course. So, Hiroshi decides if "yeah I can't get a girl I'll make one myself". He then constructs a female android, made to look entirely human. He spends a lot of time building her, basing her entirely on his crush Mari. Once finished, he names his creation "Marie". She awakes the next day, coming across as being rather nice, likeable, but behaves more like a younger sibling than as a girlfriend. Of course, Hiroshi doesn't mind this, since he made the robot Marie out of need for a companion, then really anything else.
But, one day, Marie and Mari meet unexpectedly, something Hiroshi didn't want. This is awkward to say the least, as the only difference between the two is hair color: Mari has purple hair, Marie has pink hair. Of course, Hiroshi covers this up by saying that Marie is his 18 yr old younger sister, which works surprisingly well. Of course, Tanaka, another guy on the tennis team who likes Mari, starts crushing on Marie big time. Marie does some tennis, which she is very good at, since she is modeled on Mari. The two girls (Mari and Marie) have a tennis match to determine who goes on a date with Hiroshi or Tanaka. Marie wins, so Mari and Hiroshi go on a date together, while Tanaka attempts to 'get it on' with Marie, but she evades his advances.
Marie tries to catch up with the couple, like a slightly obsessed but well-meaning sibling. But, she seems to be one step behind the couple, as well getting distracted by doing good deeds, like saving kids from an incoming train and saving the elderly from an apartment fire. Finally, Hiroshi ends up leaving his date with Mari early in order to find Marie. The two reunite, and go to a local noodle shop and enjoy a quiet meal together. It's the simplest things in life that one must appreciate, I suppose.

Episode 2, "The Appearance of Hibiki Kennou" continues the story. It brings in another character, Hibiki Kennou. She is a tomboy fighter and bit of a troublemaker, picking up men just to steal money from them (minus the s__) or beating up punks for money. On one occasion, Hibiki is beating a whole group of school punks by herself, when Marie was walking by and intervening. Hibiki also meets p with Hiroshi, and love at first sight occurs. She becomes a bit flustered, wondering why she might have feelings for such a dork, spouting out lines like "Longing for someone you never met before..." and "[Love], its an unprofitable emotion".
One day, she tracks down Hiroshi to his place, and finds out that Marie is a robot (oh noes!!!).  She then blackmails Hiroshi into going on a date with her to keep Marie's secret, well a secret. Their date includes going to an amusement park, karaoke (bad singing ftw),generally having fun. The date culminates with the two going to Hibiki's apartment for a nightcap. Of course, this was just to get Hiroshi to 'do it' with her. Of course, neither one of them are particularly knowledgeable in this area, which is both hilarious and pathetic at the same time.
Thankfully, Marie comes to the rescue, saving the viewer from any hentai scenes (thank god). Hibiki attempts to blackmail Marie by bringing up the fact that she is a robot, and that revelation might ruin Marie's life. Marie's response is as follows: “I would rather be a robot with a brother who loves me, than a human woman with no one to love” (Absolute zing ftw). This hit Hibiki to her core, she contemplates this during the night.
Of course, Hibiki finds out that Mari and Marie are rather similar. This angers her so much, that she tracks down Hiroshi to beat him to a bloody pulp (rightfully so, I might add). Marie and Hibiki then fight, the only action scene of this entire OVA. It is surprisingly well-done, all things considered. It has lot of character insight, with Hibiki and Marie both being characters with similar inadequacy, that being unfulfilled love. Also, Hiroshi (who's watching the fight and tries to stop it) notices that Hibiki looks a bit familiar. The fight ends with a punchout. The episode closes out with Hiroshi realizing that Hibiki was a girl he once knew in his childhood. There was an incident where they were playing in a kiddie pool, he pushed her into the kiddie pool with a 'scary face'. It scarred Hibiki since then, and impacted what kind of person she is. Of course, it turns out he did that in order to protect her from a nearby wild animal, which bit him in the arm. The two, now with more understanding, part ways.

The third and last episode, "Dreaming Android" is the odd one out of the three episodes made. In fact, it is a reference to Philip K Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (in fact referred to once in this episode). This episode deals with Marie wanting to be able to dream, which she finds to be something new she wants to try. She gains this ability with help by Hiroshi.

Rest of the episode becomes an extended dream sequence (series of vignettes with no real flow or reason to them) Somethings to note on it: 
-catchphrase: "Dreams can be wishes" pops up from time to time
-dwelling on nature of reality and the individual, theme of relationships/love, etc.
-rehashes scenes in sequence, or scenes from first 2 eps but with a twist
 -tries to be philosophical and deep at first, yet comes off as being rather strange and weird
-halfway goes heavily into Marie introspective mode (big time)
                Relationship to Mari (Marie as a reflection) and Hiroshi (unfulfilled love)
                Reversal of fortunes: Marie as human, Hiroshi as robot 
The ending? Well, it is certainly unexpected. Unfortunately, its is a cliffhanger, as no other episodes exist of this series. What a bummer, in my opinion. 

So, onto the good. Unlike last week's entry, this has good things going for it. The story is compelling and interesting, the characters interesting and nuanced. The story is very strong in the first 2 episodes then goes completely wtf for the third and final episode. The english dub voice acting is decent for the most part, though not particularly noteworthy. Still listenable, though.
Also of note is the ending song. It is called "Hello, Strange Days". The singer of the song is the Japanese VA for Marie, Yuko Miyamara. It is a love letter, essentially, talking about love and life (the underlying theme of this OVA), done over a montage of Marie as a human girl growing up, experiencing the life she never had. It is rather sad and poignant, especially after watching all 3 episodes. 
There is nothing really bad about this OVA, expect that it is another unfinished OVA. But, unlike Last of the Last Labyrinth, this fact makes me sad rather than just 'meh'. It is a shame no other episodes were made. Granted there's a manga but it never made it stateside and I doubt it ever will. UGH -sigh-

So, in conclusion, "My Dear Marie" is a lost gem. It is a pretty good OVA, very well done. What a shame only 3 episodes exist! I can only hope that there is a revival/remake in the near future.Yeah, I can dream, right? This is definitely a MUST-SEE, especially if you are a fan of sci-fi rom comedies. 

Well, that ends Romance and Relationships Month. Expect a post midway through this week with the reviews I will do in March.

Laterz ^_^ 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Anime Review No. 23, "Legend of the Last Labyrinth" (1997 OVA)

Hi, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

Well, after 2 weeks of me praising Ah My Goddess (which it deserves), I feel it's necessary to return back to the comfort zone: obscure OVAs from the 90s. So, in keeping with this month's theme of Romance and Relationships, this weekend's OVA is Legend of the Last Labyrinth.
Alternate titles include Princess Rouge and Princess Rouge: The Legend of the Last Labyrinth.
Redundant much?
Image Detail

Never heard of it? I am not surprised. This 1997 OVA was produced by JC Staff, though much of the work was done by Japan Narration and Acting School. It was originally slated for 6 episodes, but only two got made. The creator of this OVA is Aoi Takeuchi, the same guy behind Voogie's Angel (see my review of that  piece of crud back in November). This and Voogie's Angel are the only series that Mr. Takeuchi was involved, so you know that this will be good /sarc. AnimeWorks released the OVA back in 2000. SO, is this any good? Let's find out.

Episode 1 is simply the exposition episode. Yusuke (the main male lead) was riding his bicycle one day when a girl falls from the sky. Somehow, he ends up in a creek with this girl. She (a rather pretty girl with green eyes/hair) turns out to have amnesia. Yusuke takes her home, where during the night, she has weird dreams involving the death of her mother and chaotic war. The, it cuts to some unnamed villain who sends a female minion named Vega to seek and capture 'someone' out (a coincidence eh?). So far, so good. This is followed by a montage of Yusuke and Rouge (thats her name, seriously) going out on the town and getting clothes and other things. Rouge, she is not a good cook but feels safe with Yusuke, since she got amnesia. Yusuke is a high school boy who's out on his own, with money problems that follow.
So, essentially, their relationship is based off of a need to be with each other. Rather basic, if I do say so myself. Then, later that day, Yusuke comes back to his house and finds Rouge's two sisters. Kaige is a fiery redhead with some sword skills, while Meige is a blue-haired calm, smarter one who is a mage. They are here looking for their sister, of course. But, then Vega shows up, saying she has captured Rouge and holding her hostage.
The last part of this episode is a rather confusing but the gist of it is that Rouge is the Princess of the Underworld (yeah seriously) whose king has been recently disposed and her mother killed during the revolution brought upon by the unnamed villain. A Battle commences and Vega is killed. The group of Rouge, Yusuke and her 2 sisters return to the real world. It ends with Rouge's 2 sisters decinding to stay with Yusuke in order to protect Rouge.

Episode 2 starts off with the unnamed villain (now named Raiga) sending Regulus (Vega's sister) to complete  his sister's mission. It is more or the less the same formula that was done in the first episode. Minion comes, tries to take Rouge away, they fight and Regulus is killed. And when it just gets good, it ends on a fecking cliffhanger. The final scene is Raiga preparing to send another minion off to do the same freaking mission again. Third time's the charm, eh?

Now, this OVA doesn't have much good or bad about it, just a mixed bag. The only good thing about it is the blooper reel of the English dub voice cast fudging their lines up and improvising a bit. It is quite a riot.
The mixed bag lies in the animation and English dub voice acting. The animation is rather good in some parts, but at times it has the look and feel of an animation school project. The dub is rather OK. Juliet Cesario and Scott Simpson have the roles of the main couple, and they seem to try and recapture the greatness they had in the Oh My Goddess OVA, and failing, not for lack of trying.
This leads to the bad part of this OVA, and that is the story. Aoi Takeuchi can write a romance story in the way he wrote a sci-fi invasion story (Voogie's Angel), which is to say not very good. He seems to borrow a lot from other supernatural romance series, like Oh My Goddess.
It is so cliched in some parts that I am surprised this got made at all, much less 2 out of supposed 6 episodes. That's the other thing, not only it is unoriginal, it is unfinished. Of course, some guy named 'Nick' decided to write a fanfiction that continues the story;
Here's the link: (though, read it only if you have seen the OVA otherwise you will be confused a bit)

So, Final Word: An unoriginal and unfinished story of romance between a human and a supernatural being. I would watch it only if you are curious. But, if you avoid it, you lose nothing, which is a very sad thing to say about an anime.

Next weekend concludes Romance and Relationships Month with My Dear Marie.

Laterz ^_^

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Anime Review No. 22, "Ah My Goddess" The Movie (2000)

Hi, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

Well, after some years of the Oh My Goddess OVA and volumes of the manga were released, a movie for "Ah My Goddess" was almost a given. It premiered in October 2000, with a US release in Nov. 2001. It was done by studio AIC and directed by Hiroaki Goda, who also did the OVA from back in 1993-94. In the US, Geneon Entertainment (now defunct sad to say) released the movie a year later past its theatrical release.  So, is it any good? Let's see.

The events of the Movie takes place 3 years after the OVA's events. Belldandy and Keiichi's life is going great and all that. Their relationship/main characters are explained within the first few minutes, so it is assumed that you've watched the OVA or read the manga. More on that later, I assure you.

But, Celestin, Belldandy's old mentor, arrives on the scene unexpectedly after disappearing some point in the past. At the same time, Heaven (under guidance of Peorth, another goddess character who didn't appear in OVA) is dealing with the escape of a convict from their lunar prison and appearance of some problems in the Yggdrasil system (sort of like a giant computer system). Coincidence? Perhaps, though it doesn't take much to piece the two together.
Celestin, upon seeing Belldandy, kisses her and then flies off mysteriously after Bell faints (a cursed kiss?). It turns out, Bell got struck with selective amnesia, wherein she loses all memories pertaining to Keiichi. Now, for the casual/first-time viewer, this might not be a big deal. But for me, personally being a big fan of the series, this moment was a bit heart breaking and sad. Keiichi, along with Skuld and Urd, try to help Bell to regain her memories. Of course, they fail at first.
But slowly and surely, Bell regains her memories. Of course, then Celestin appears again to cause trouble. What is he up to? Well, he is akin to a Lucifer figure. He was a once a member in the high courts of Heaven, who once tutored Belldandy. However, he was troubled by the problems with reality, specifically the way that Heaven deals with relationships between members of different realms. There's this Judgement Gate that exists where these 'special couples' go and test their commitment to each other. Should there be any doubt, the couple is separated forever. So, he takes young Bell along to show this 'abomination' (as Celestin says) and then he attempts to destroy it. Now, while that might be something good, it has one huge downside-IT WOULD RENDER REALITY AS WE KNOW IT ASUNDER. (sorry for the all caps xD). He succeeds for a bit , but then is banished to the moon for his crimes. Belldandy then has to take a forgetting potion, so she won't remember it at all (hence the confusion when he showed up earlier in the movie). Also, this was told all in flashback, naturally.
He recruited Morgan, a fairy princess, to aid in his plan. She is a rather tragic figure, having felt the loss of her beloved at the hands of the Judgement Gate firsthand. She is the one who freed Celestin from the moon prison and aids him in trying to pry Belldandy away from Keiichi by first subtle means, then outright seduction of Keiichi. This of course didn't work too much.  
Now, Celestin wants to basically render reality asunder again, and create a new reality, probably in his own image. Of course, by that point, Bell regains her memories of Keiichi totally and she along with Keiichi, Urd, Skuld seeks to prevent Celestin's plan. The virus that is causing trouble to Yggdrasil is linked into Belldandy. the final solution, put forward by Peorth, would be to inject a vaccination into Belldandy and stem the virus at its source, which unfortunately would have unfortunate side effects as well. But its better then reality becoming no more, so they go ahead with this idea.
But it fails as Celestin takes over Keiichi's body and proceeds with his plan anyway. Just when it seems all is lost, the way to prevent this calamity is.....SINGING (I'm dead serious). Also, Belldandy and Keiichi pass through the Judgement Gate together, and because their love is unwavering, they are successful and they glimpse at Paradise (i have no idea, not really explained). Happy ending, closed by credits.

Well, what are the pros to this Movie? Well, quite a lot.
First, the animation encapsulates one word-Beautiful!!!!! This was where the Ah My Goddess series underwent artistic evolution on a grand scale, that carries through to the TV Series made 5 years later. From the first scene right up to the ending, it is all wonderfully animated. It also has a very well done blend of 2D cel and CGI, probably the best example of such a seamless blend from this era of animation (the turn of this recent century). 
Second, the voice acting (in the english dub). It is of course different from the dub of the OVA, which I reviewed last weekend. Now, the main couple is voiced by Bridget Hoffman (Belldandy) and Tony Oliver (Keiichi). They do a wonderful job, even if this was their own appearance in this role for the series. There are some other memorable performances in the cast as well. This includes Sherry Lynn and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Skuld and Urd, and interestingly enough Steve Blum as the baddie of the film, which surprised me a quite a lot. It is quite awesome, much like the rest of this film.
Third, the story. This is quite possibly the best story for an anime film outside of the Miyazaki canon. The plot is bit more developed than the OVA, as the series has been out for some time before this movie came out. It is also rather original, in that it doesn't take place within the manga series it is based on.
Finally, the music is very wonderful. It was done by Shiro Hamaguchi, who also did music for Final Fantasy VII-IX games as well as the One Piece movies. So, to say it sounds much like a video game soundtrack, not far from truth. Granted, it is totally grand classical orchestra playing the soundtrack and it is very well-done. It is grand and epic, which considering this is a theatrical release for a movie, not surprising.

Now, the one con against this movie, which I mentioned earlier: the continuity. In the first 10-15 minutes, we are thrust into this world, with lots of characters, most of which are incidental to the plot of the movie. Now, for the casual/first-time viewer, this will create some confusion. So, to truly appreciate this movie, one needs to have seen either the OVA or TV Series or read the manga beforehand just a bit to understand what most things are.

Now, final thoughts: This Movie rocks!! Like I say, this is possibly the best anime movie outside of the Miyazaki canon out there. I can heap more praise to this movie than I ever done for a lot for the titles I reviewed. It is the pinnacle of anime, the greatest example for this industry. There's hasn't been a lot of anime titles before or since that are as great as this movie. WATCH IT!!!

Now, next weekend is Legend of the Last Labyrinth.

Laterz, The Eclectic Dude



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Anime Review No. 21, "Oh My Goddess" (OVA), Part 2/2

Hello again, this is the Eclectic Dude

Well, after three rather solid episodes with lots of character introductions and situational comedy/drama, does this OVA pick up the pace? Let's find out.

Episode 4, titled Evergreen Holy Night, starts out with a bad dream by Keiichi in which Belldandy leaves him, which causes some distress. It is really good scene illustrating the transient nature of their relationship, especially considering they are an unconventional couple. Anyway, problems (micro snowstorm, things disappearing, magnetism, etc) start popping around Keiichi and Belldandy's temple abode. The problem is caused by the presence of 'bugs' (multi-legged rabbit critters), as reality seems to function akin to a computer system. More bugs equals glitches in the fabric of reality, or something. These 'bugs' come out from a 'portal' formed by the close attraction of Keiichi and Belldandy, as discovered by Skuld. The two now have to be separated or more problems will occur.
On top of that, 'Father' (the God-figure) calls Belldandy and says she got to go back to Heaven. She has 3 days before a gateway opens up to Heaven and take Belldandy. She reluctantly agrees it as she wants to make Keiichi's life better, even though both of them are in deep love with each other. The pain of separation gets to both of them, and attempts to reconnect with more problems. Near the end of the episode, it is discovered that a tree on the grounds of the temple is the source of the 'reality glitches'. Not much is explained about the tree, suffice to say that its is a rather scary and shocking cliffhanger.

Episode 5, titled For Love of Goddess, wraps up the OVA. it is a tad longer than the other 4 episodes, but I don't mind that too much. It continues the plot from Ep. 4 with Belldandy awaiting the day she has to leave Earth for the Heavenly Sphere, Urd and Skuld trying to keep her on Earth, and Keiichi going to do part time jobs to get something special for Belldandy. All of this during Christmastime, which does make it very poignant.  Will it end in tragedy or will our couple have a happy ending?
Suffice to say, they do. I won't spoil details to the ending, suffice to say it does bring up a twist I didn't see coming even after watching it a few times. Thus, the OVA ends on credit roll with a cheery pop song set to character stills. Pretty good I must say.

Now the pros of this OVA:
The voice acting in the english dub is top-notch. Juliet Cesario and Scott Simpson do a very good job conveying the roles of the main couple. The rest of the cast is generally consistent, though Pamela Weidner and Lanelle Markgraf (who voices Skuld and Urd respectively) are particularly note-worthy as well. The music is rather nice as well. It has nice blend of orchestral and 90s J-pop/synth music that works well and complements the story. It also got interesting concepts, especially with regard to the nature of reality and role of fate in the universe. Those seems odd in this story, they do tie in with what the story is about: Even when they are odds against two people in love, they shall overcome.

Now the cons:
The story is rather straightforward: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, the two become a couple and overcome obstacles, both human and universal. Still, the interesting concepts I mentioned above help make this OVA stand out among other similar series. Animation is the other thing that at times, ages this production considerably. The character designs look good and consistent, but the backgrounds often look faded in comparison, especially in the scenes during the daytime. Nonetheless, it is old enough to be considered old-school without much problem.

Now, one particular extra I liked about AnimEigo's release of this OVA in 2 episodes is the audio commentary. They decided to do an audio commentary for all 5 episodes. It includes Scott Simpson, Juliet Cesario, Pamela Weidner along with English Voice Director Scott Houle. It is a very enlightening commentary and worth a listen should you get the DVDs, which I recommend.

In conclusion, Oh My Goddess is a very good OVA and stands out as a classic, in my opinion. Sure, the animation makes this on the old school side, but it is worth looking at. Especially if you've seen the 2005-07 TV Series and want to see what it looked like back in the day. Of course, you can always check out the manga, which is very good as well.

Next week is "Ah My Goddess" The Movie, which came out in 2000.

The Eclectic Dude

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Anime Review No. 21, "Oh My Goddess" (OVA) Part 1/2

 Hi, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

So, to kick off this month of themed reviews, I am going over a favorite of mine-"Ah My Goddess" or "Oh My Goddess" depending on the interpretation. This anime series stretches back to the Fall of 1988, as a manga made by Kosuke Fujishima. In 1993-94, AIC (one of my favorite studio for anime), under director Hiroaki Goda, made a 5 episode OVA entitled "Oh My Goddess". The basic premise revolves around the relationship between the two leads, Keiichi Morisato (college sophomore) and  Belldandy (goddess from Heaven).

Now, I am doing this OVA review in 2 parts as the series was done in 2 DVDs by AnimEigo, the same company that released Otaku No Video (subject of my first ever review). Part I will be over Episodes 1-3, while Part II covers Episodes 4-5. 

Episode 1, titled Moonlight and Cherry Blossoms, starts off the OVA on a good point, with a pretty good opening song. It introduces Keiichi Morisato, a average college sophomore guy. He is essentially an Everyman, generally good and likeable, but has flaws. He meets Belldandy through a weird situation-he was trying to call take-out, but instead called the Goddess Help Line. Belldandy answers his call, by passing through a mirror (...the fudge?).  Anyway, Belldandy is a pure goddess, almost like a Yamato Nadeshiko (the Japanese ideal for women). She can grant only one wish, Keiichi decides on wishing that she be his girlfriend forever, on a whim no less. Nonetheless, the wish is granted and their relationship is bound by a 'Ultimate Force' contract. Of course, this lead to Keiichi and Belldandy being thrown of Keiichi's dorm (which was males only) out onto the streets. They resolve to find a place to live, and after some searching, find an abandoned temple. They then set to repair it. Some days later, Megumi (Keiichi's younger sister) shows up to spend a week or so living with the couple while she tries to find her own place to stay. Overall, a very well-done episode which lays down the exposition and gets down to business.

Episode 2, titled Midsummer's Night Dream, takes place 5 months later. It is summertime and life is good for our lovely couple. This episode introduces us to Urd, Belldandy's older sister (who pops out of an adult video Keiichi got in the mail-awkward). She is rather a smexy seductress with a bit of a trickster streak to her. Her aim is to get Keiichi and Belldandy as Keiichi is a bit of a wimp when it comes to romance (an understandable sentiment).
So, Keiichi and Belldandy go on a trip to the beach, and the episode turns into a 'Beach/Summer Vacation' episode (though surprisingly not much fanservice as expected, but I'm not complaining much). Keiichi tries to 'get it on' with Belldandy and fails epically. Not to knock him for trying, but it stresses that since taking on this contract, there will be obstacles to their relationship, especially since its a human-goddess relationship. Even when Urd intervenes with a love potion, it only leads to a fatal misunderstanding. But, the two resolve this. Though, Urd is forced to stay on Earth due to the fact she slacked off her job to intervene in the couple's affairs. She decides to live with Keiichi and Belldandy, much to Belldandy's delight and Keiichi's chagrin.  A pretty good episode, builds on the first episode. 

Episode 3, titled Burning Hearts on the Road, pretty much follows a similar formula to the first two. It introduces us to Skuld, the younger sister of Belldandy and Urd. She comes down to earth via magical transport, which ends up being straight out of the bathtub when Keiichi was taking a bath-awkward moment eh?). Shes comes across as annoying brat who has impressive mechanical skills and lover of gadgets and machines. She is also a tad overprotective  of Belldandy, as she was lonely up in Heaven and can't quite understand why Belldandy would be in a relationship with a 'loser' like Keiichi.
Of course, the obstacle to the couple is a college drag race, with Keiichi's auto club going up against Aoshima's (rich prick) own racing team, with a wager involving Belldandy. Of course, Keiichi and his team win regardless, egged on by Belldandy's own encouragement and despite all odds against them. It is a really good fist-pumping moment as Keiichi overcomes this obstacle.

So, three pretty solid episodes in, and this story is very well-done. But, what will happen in the finale in last two episodes? Will Belldandy and Keiichi get it through all obstacles?
Find out in Part II, posted tomorrow.

The Eclectic Dude 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 2012 Announcement

Well, another month is at hand. This month, having Valentine’s Day on the 14th, I decided on the theme on romance and relationships in anime. It is a theme/topic covered in countless anime and manga series over the years, probably as much as in literature, music and art. Of course, I will review series that I own personally.
Here are the reviews:

“Oh My Goddess” OVA: Review in 2 parts, February 4-5 (Part I on 4th, Part II on 5th)

“Ah My Goddess” The Movie: February 11

“Legend of the Last Labyrinth”: February 18

“My Dear Marie”: February 25

If you’ve heard of some of these titles, then good on you. If not, be prepared for titles with, well, rather out-of-there relationships (Goddesses, Aliens, and Robots oh my!!!!!) and the situations/problems that befall these couples.  

See y’all Saturday
The Eclectic Dude